Recent Posts

May 10, 2014

Growing Up Maasai

It’s been a few days since our last update. This was not from a lack of attention on our part but merely the lack of internet. For the last few days we traveled north of Nairobi to a town called Ngong on the edge of Maasai land. We made Ngong our base of operation and traveled into Maasai land each day. In Ngong we were working with MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) and their local partner MIDI (Maasai Integrated Development Initiative). The travel in and out of the Rift Valley where the Maasai live is difficult and rough terrain requiring 4…

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May 7, 2014

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 Today marks almost a week since we have arrived in Kenya. The morning began with breakfast prepared by Agnes and the wonderful Rivercamp staff. We then headed out in the land rovers to complete another day of research. Today’s research focus was to determine if the four ant species that reside in Whistling Thorn trees evacuate from their swollen thorns upon smelling smoke. We used a bucket of burning grass to create smoke and quantified how each ant species behaved downwind. (We are finding that some species can smell smoke 500 meters down-wind and evacuate their…

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May 6, 2014

Monday May 5th, 2014 I still can’t get over the amazing sites of yesterday. We went to the hippo pool and we saw a bunch of hippos!! We got to see so many baby vervet monkeys! They are the cutest thing ever! It is just pretty awesome to see them playing. I don’t know how how many of you will believe this but I definitely felt a connection as they are so human-like. Today (Monday) was another amazing day. How many biology classes give you the opportunity to see giraffe, elephants, baboons, zebras, and so many other amazing animals during…

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May 6, 2014

Sunday relaxation

Sunday May 4, 2014 Today was a day of much needed rest and relaxation after our long day of burning yesterday. We woke up to a lovely late breakfast (7:30, woohoo!) and spent the morning doing homework, reading, and enjoying the savanna singing it’s beautiful songs to us. To contrast our experience at the rustic river camp, we spent the rest of late morning plugged in to our respective electronics at the research center – typing up long, informative, and heartfelt emails to our parents to let them know we haven’t been trampled by an elephant yet, and dutifully looking…

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May 5, 2014

Today was our 2nd production day on location of the communities we are visiting. After a full weekend of more “tourist” type activities everyone in the class was anxious to get back to the work at hand. We had a lot of fun over the weekend seeing the elephant orphanage, the giraffe center, some traditional dancing, a Nairobi market and yes even some shopping. But now after being here for 4 days we were ready to hit the road early this morning to get to the communities in Nydeiya, just north of Nairobi. I think Twila said it best tonight…

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May 4, 2014

Burning!

May 3rd, 2014 This was our third day in Laikipia county at Mpala ranch, and the beauty, significance, and novelty of this place is no less awesome than when we arrived. The wonder of Laikipia is compounded by the fact that humans first evolved in savannah ecosystems like this one over 100,000 years ago.  About 60,000 years ago, these early humans maintained species diversity and the balance between woody and grassy plants by periodically burning the savannah.  Today, we had the opportunity to participate in one of the oldest human traditions of burning savannas as part of a research project….

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May 4, 2014

May 1-2, 2014 On Thursday morning we made the 4 hr trek from Nairobi to the Laikipia region of Kenya, which is in the western rainshadow of Mt. Kenya. We enjoyed lunch at the River Camp which will be our home for the next 12 days (later we’ll move to the dorms at Mpala Research Centre).  At the river camp we are living in permanent tents situated along the Ewaso Nyiro river and each morning we awake to the splendor of all manner of bird songs. Nights afford stunning views of the Milky Way and the laughing whoops of hyenas…

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May 3, 2014

+’s Giraffes Giraffes eating out of my hand Hugging giraffes Elephants Baby elephants Touching baby elphants Filming baby elephants with awesome camera equipment A baby elephant rubbing against Lauren as she took pictures Calimari for lunch A beautiful overlook over downtown A free evening Shorts and a t-shirt Film experience College credit for this -‘s Sore throat One time today for about 10 minutes I felt a little too warm in the sun. -Jake

May 2, 2014

Production Day 1

Learning to be flexible, was the lesson for today. When we travel to other cultures one of the best parts is to discover our differences. Our North American priority sometimes is to keep a schedule and be on time. So it can be frustrating to suddenly be thrown into a culture where schedules and times are not so important. This is a good thing for us to experience. It changes our focus from time to the present happenings. After our schedule was put way behind because so many people wanted to come see and talk to us, we were not…

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May 1, 2014

I left three days ago but we’ve only been gone two days and it’s 6:06 PM here but it’s 11 AM at home and I’ve had double the meals and half the sleep and all I can say is that every part of my body is confused. But besides that, I’m great! Traveling went relatively smooth. As our plane started moving in Chicago, I kicked in a panel and was pretty sure I had broken the plane and we were all going to be sucked through this hole. (Please remember that I study film, not physics.) After surviving the Vortex…

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